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The Matagorda County Navigation District No. 1 and the Texas General Land Office Receive a Gulf Guardian Award for their Oil Spill Prevention and Response Partnership

Release Date: 06/09/2011
Contact Information: Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or www.epa.gov/gmpo

(STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – June 9, 2011) – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Matagorda County Navigation District No.1 of Palacios, Texas and the Texas General Land Office will receive a Gulf Guardian Award for 2011 in the Partnership category for work on their Oil Spill Prevention and Response. The Awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Meeting on August 3, 2011, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Ballroom at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place in New Orleans.

A partnership between the Texas General Land Office and Matagorda County Navigation District No. 1 (Port of Palacios) was established in 1998 to reduce the impacts of oily bilge water spilled and dumped in area bays and in the Gulf of Mexico. The Texas General Land Office coordinated the construction of a bilge water reclamation facility at the Port, which along with mobile pump-out trailers, continues to facilitate the safe and efficient removal of oily bilge water, used motor oil and oil filters from Port vessels and businesses. This is a free service offered on the Port. Due to the large number of shrimp boats in the Palacios fleet, the goal of the partnership was to make a significant impact on the amount of oily bilge water and used motor oil making its way into area waters or being disposed of in Gulf waters. TGLO data showed that 35-40% of spills were emanating from fishing vessels and mystery spills. Clean Harbor meetings and exercises are hosted by the Port to ensure all boat owners have at least one opportunity each year to satisfy agency spill response deployment exercise requirements and to receive any updates on the free services offered by the Port. These programs work together with their Clean Harbor program to communicate and foster an appreciation for clean waterways by the community and visitors to Palacios. The success of the partnership can be measured in the 1.2 million gallons of oily bilge water removed from Port vessels, the safe and efficient recycling of 531,000 gallons of used oil and removal of 31,000 oil filters, to date.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in seven categories: individual, business, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts.

"The Gulf Guardian Award winners demonstrate great examples of collaborative efforts leading to solutions that address the Gulf of Mexico environment," said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. "Their accomplishments are making a positive difference in protecting and restoring the Gulf and EPA is pleased to recognize their environmental stewardship."

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

Gloria Car, Acting Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said, “This is the 11th year of the Gulf Guardian Awards Program, and I am proud to say that each year the winners in all categories have represented the very best of environmental accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico. The partnership of the Gulf of Mexico Program works to improve the environmental health of the Gulf, and the Gulf Guardian Awards is an important way for us to recognize these valuable efforts. The 2011 award winners truly exemplify the enthusiastic and committed citizens, communities, governments, and businesses who address complex problems to improve, protect, and sustain our regional and national treasure, the Gulf of Mexico.

For more information on this partnership effort contact: Debbie Morris, Port Director (361) 972-5556 Cell 361-920-6212 dmorris@portofpalacios.com

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call the Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or visit our web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo.

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